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Laurence Inman’s Blog

PAINTING THE TOWN RED

20-08-2009

Scary Picture

From Jack The Ripper to DIY. Yup, Laurence Inman is back.

Jack The Ripper.......

Did he have a wife and family, do you think ?

As he stood at the front door, done up in his coat and top hat, about to be swallowed into the swirling autumn mist, did he turn to them and say, ‘I’m just going out for a walk. I’ll try to be back by dawn. Don’t wait up. If anybody asks, I’ve been nowhere near the East End. Ciaou.’

Did his family return his sunny au revoir with chilly stares and weary apprehension?

I speculate upon this, because that is more or less my family’s reaction whenever I announce my intention to pop down to Wickes or Homebase for a bag of cement or a new hacksaw blade.

They all, wife, son and daughter have the same response to my DIY aspirations: dismissive prohibition.

And this despite the undisputed facts: I have kept the electrics going for decades, built sturdy six-foot feather-edge fences in many suburban gardens, constructed a shed to my own design, serviced cars, put up shelves, curtain-rails and racks of all description, and only ended up in hospital once, when I dropped a door on my foot.

All right; my tool of first choice is the twelve-pound axe, but it gets results.

I will not touch the gas.

I can’t fix computers; I leave all that to my mate Mike.

I have problems with paint.

These problems became rather pressing about a year ago when the external surfaces on our house started to flake and peel. Then we thought we wouldn’t touch the front garden until the painting was done. So it became overgrown with very unpleasant weeds. Even the dog was ashamed to come home.

We fiddled with the notion of doing it ourselves. We were in some paint shop discussing which tins to get when we fell into conversation with a complete stranger. She told us not to be so silly and to get a proper man in. Now, ‘getting a proper man in’ goes against all my strongest instincts, but she was adamant.

She recommended someone.

I got them in and they did the job.

I almost never give publicity to private firms in this column; but I will today.

If you need any painting jobs done, get hold of W B Devey and Sons on 0121 777 9655.

They were punctual, cheerful and very professional. They did all the external paintwork properly, going back to the wood, priming, undercoating, repairing and replacing damaged bits of wood. They rebuilt my front door.

They did other things over and above the original contract, for nothing: fixed a new roof-tile in a very awkward place and repaired some flashing on the
kitchen roof. And the final price was very reasonable indeed.

As they worked on the front, several of the neighbours stopped to chat and some booked them for future jobs. I’m getting them in again soon to put in a new skylight. They’ve been a family firm since 1921, so local word-of-mouth reputation is crucially important.

And I confess: they made my previous efforts look as though they’d been done with a bike-pump. (Which they might well have been, come to think of it.)

One last word on Jack the Ripper. His real name could have been Nigel. Nigel the Ripper. That’s not frightening at all, is it?

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